Group interviews may take you by surprise, but with more businesses using them to make hiring decisions, you need to be prepared to walk into a room and sit down for an interview with several other candidates.
As a group, you may be asked to answer standard interview questions or to apply your knowledge and experience to a specific task. Some companies will have you perform a problem solving or work-related exercise and talk about how to tackle the main issue at hand.
The reason for this kind of interview is to find out how candidates communicate and collaborate with others, as well as their problem solving and leadership skills.
Your main goal in this environment is to make a good impression so you can move forward from this first round and land a one-on-one interview. Here are a few tips to help you get there.
It can be shocking to suddenly realize you are in a group interview situation. It’s important to not let that sudden rush of adrenaline throw you off your game. Avoid the urge to throw your guard up and identify your biggest competitors are for the job. Instead, engage everyone in a friendly, professional manner.
Connect with your group mates
One of the best things you can do in a group interview situation is to make connections with your would-be competition. Good interviewers will notice if you make an effort to strike up conversations because it shows initiative and confidence.
Getting to know your interview-mates’ unique backgrounds and skill sets before the interview begins can also come in handy during a group discussion. For instance, you could ask someone who was raised in another country for their unique cultural perspective on something and then piggyback off of what they say.
Finally, connecting with other people in your field allows you to grow your personal network. Even if you don’t make it to the solo interview, you might be able to walk away with a few new connections via LinkedIn.
In a rapid-fire group interview, it’s easy to fall into the routine of simply trying to come up with what you’re going to say next. This can cause you to forget names and miss out on essential information. Then, when an opportunity to contribute arises, what you came up with may suddenly be irrelevant or it has already covered by someone else.
To be able to speak deliberately, you must pay attention to the interviewers and interviewees, while staying interested in where the conversation is going. Be aware and use body language to demonstrate that you’re engaged with what is being said. Rather than jump in when a thought suddenly pops into your head, quickly jot down a note. When it is time for you to speak, you’ll have a valuable contribution.
Don’t forget that standard interviewing rules still apply in this interview format. Remember to make eye contact with each interviewer and bring enough copies of your resume for everyone you will meet with. Most importantly, make sure to send a follow-up, thank you email to everyone who took time to meet with you.
At Thompson Technologies, we help job seekers prepare for all manner of interview situations. If you would like an interview prep consultation, please contact us today.